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Although I fear the recent run up may simply be blind masses throwing money into the biotech sector (a mixed blessing),for ABSC there is some very substantive good news just out (in addition to a couple of thumbs up from brokers). Here is the press release from PR Newswire I found:

Aurora Biosciences Announces Issuance of U.S. Patent For Novel G-Protein Technology

PR Newswire, Tuesday, December 21, 1999 at 18:27



SAN DIEGO, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Aurora Biosciences Corporation (NASDAQ:ABSC) announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued U.S. Patent Number 6,004,808 entitled "Promiscuous G-Protein Compositions and Their Use." The patent is directed towards cells comprising promiscuous G-proteins such as G alpha 15, and methods for their use in drug screening.

G-proteins are one of a class of proteins that couple receptors, which respond to extracellular signals such as hormones and neurotransmitters, to signal transduction pathways within the cell. Hundreds of distinct G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), which couple to a variety of G-protein subtypes, have been identified in the human body, and many drugs target these receptors. The promiscuous G-proteins (such as G alpha 15 and G alpha 16) constitute a class of G-proteins that functionally couple to most receptor types. By doing so, promiscuous G-proteins enable facile, effective methods for developing cell-based screens across a range of receptor types, irrespective of their degree of functional characterization.

"Issuance of this patent further expands the scope of Aurora's growing intellectual property portfolio in the important area of assay development and is exemplary of Aurora's continued technological leadership in developing proprietary drug discovery tools," commented Paul Negulescu, Ph.D., vice president, cell biology. "Cells expressing promiscuous G-proteins are a key component of Aurora's GPCR platform which has produced over 30 screens to date. This technology has proven particularly useful in developing assays for orphan receptors, a sizable and largely untapped set of potential drug targets."

Aurora combines innovative biotechnology with its novel, high-technology automation and software to provide solutions to challenges in drug discovery for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The Company's core technologies include a broad portfolio of proprietary fluorescence assay technologies; its functional genomics GenomeScreen(TM) program; and its ultra-high throughput screening system (UHTSS(TM) Platform) and subsystems to miniaturize and automate assays derived from those technologies within a computer-controlled integrated system, capable of searching through expansive libraries of compounds to identify those that might lead to new medicines. Aurora seeks to become a leader in providing services, technology and information that enhance and accelerate its customers' ability to discover new therapeutics through three main strategies: (1) providing customized drug discovery services, allowing the customer to outsource some part or all of its discovery needs, (2) developing and selling systems, instruments and technologies to augment the customer's own discovery efforts, and (3) licensing the Company's growing intellectual property portfolio. Current customers include Becton Dickinson, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Clontech Laboratories, Inc., Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Cytovia, Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, Exelixis Pharmaceuticals, F.Hoffmann-LaRoche Ltd., Genentech, Inc., Glaxo Wellcome, Merck & Co., National Cancer Institute, Pfizer, Inc., Pharmacia & Upjohn, Inc., Warner-Lambert and Wyeth-Ayerst. For additional information on Aurora's services and products, please contact Sales and Marketing via email at marcom@aurorabio.com or by phone at (858) 404-8508.

Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical are "forward-looking" statements which involve a high degree of risk and uncertainty. Such statements are only predictions and the actual events or results may differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to differences include risks involved with the Company's new and uncertain technology, risks associated with the Company's dependence on patents and proprietary rights, the ability to generate sales of such consumables to collaborative partners, dependence on existing pharmaceutical and biotechnology collaborations, and the development or availability of competing systems or technologies. These factors and others are more fully described in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 1998 and subsequent Forms 10- Q, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. For additional corporate information, visit the Aurora website at http://www.aurorabio.com.

UHTSS(TM) and GenomeScreen(TM) are trademarks of Aurora Biosciences Corporation.
SOURCE Aurora Biosciences Corporation


-0- 12/21/1999

/CONTACT: Angela Hartley, Director, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations of Aurora Biosciences Corporation, 858-404-6767, or fax, 858-404-6714, hartleya@aurorabio.com/

/Web site: http://www.aurorabio.com/
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